As one of three players on the Mariners’ roster who played with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, catcher Tuffy Gosewisch probably is more familiar with the other two than anybody else at the team’s spring training.
According to Gosewisch, the third catcher on the depth chart for Seattle, the Mariners should be plenty happy with their acquisitions of Jean Segura and Mitch Haniger.
While the Arizona-bred Gosewisch came up to the majors through the Diamondbacks system, Segura spent just one year with Arizona before Jerry Dipoto picked him and Haniger up for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte in a November trade. Still, Gosewisch saw enough of Segura up close to understand how talented Seattle’s new shortstop is.
“Obviously I think Jean’s numbers speak for themselves. Last year was unbelievable to watch,” Gosewisch told “Danny, Dave and Moore” on Friday. “Basically everything he swung at was a base hit. I can’t even describe some of the balls that he would hit that we would shake our heads at. Somehow he would put the barrel on it and hit it hard and find a hole.”
That’s how Segura ended up with a .319 batting average and .867 OPS on a league-leading 203 hits. That’s not all that he brings to the table, though. He also stole 33 bases and is a capable defender.
“He plays great defense and he can run,” Gosewisch said. “He creates problems on the base paths for the other team.”
Gosewisch knows Haniger even more, having played with the 26-year-old outfielder in both Triple-A and the big leagues. And just like people including Rick Rizzs have been saying, he believes Haniger could end up being a steal for Seattle.
“I think he’s gonna be something special. I think he’s gonna be surprising. I don’t think he was the main piece that people looked at in this trade but I think he’s gonna turn out to be pretty solid,” Gosewisch said. “He can play the outfield very well. He’s got a good arm. And then he made some strides last year at the plate, started hitting with a lot more power.
“He’s really a student of the game and practices quite a bit in the offseason and he really tries to study his swing and understand himself more than anybody I’ve played with. It’s exciting to watch him and I think he’s gonna continue to get better.”
So, about the name
As would be customary in any introductory interview with a person named Tuffy, Dave Wyman and Jim Moore got to the bottom of Gosewisch’s unique name. It turns out it was a nickname he earned as a baby from his father that stuck.
“He said I was just kind of a handful, to put it nicely. I just used to break my crib and kind of rough-house a lot,” Gosewisch said. “He thought it was fitting and that’s all I was ever called growing up.”
There was a brief period of time where he tried to go by his given name of James, but unsurprisingly the sport of baseball wouldn’t let him get away with not being called Tuffy.
“By the time I got to high school I tried to get rid of it. I tried to go by James or Jim. You know, it really didn’t stick in baseball. Baseball always kinda kept it with Tuffy.”